What we think of as shipping containers are actually called intermodal containers, because they are designed to work with several different modes of transportation. The box on a boxcar train, a stack of them on a cargo ship and the boxes hauled around by cranes in shipyards are all the same. They were designed for exactly this modularity, and have become ubiquitous around the world. So much so that many cities are finding they have to deal with excess shipping containers in a number of ways.
Restrictions in a Port City
In some places around the world, shipping 중국배대지 containers have proven to be a boon for local artists, students and other creative types. How is this possible?
Take Seattle for example. As one of the largest ports in the United States, Seattle is filled with containers in every stage of use. Shelterkraft is a new company on the scene taking advantage of the older shipping containers that have no current use beyond cluttering the skyline.
Shelterkraft takes these containers and remodels them into self-contained living spaces. They have modern appliances. They have recycled cardboard countertops. They have low energy lighting. They’re recycled, they’re green and they’re affordable. Best of all, they’re made out of containers, so they’re by default highly mobile.
While small, the market for these container housing units is large and growing. People use them as mobile homes. They work well as backyard cabins, additions or stand-alone office spaces. What more can they ask for in a city with restrictive building codes?
Expensive Nights on the Town
Berlin is in a similar situation for different reasons. It is a haven for students and a generally young population, with a thriving and active nightlife. The problem that most of these people encounter, however, is the aging living infrastructure of the city. What housing is available is generally expensive, and for the money, it lacks many of the basic amenities considered essential for modern life.
The solution, as proposed by the developer Jörg Duske, is shipping containers. Specifically, a large number of containers stacked, built together, secured in place and turned into a single large housing complex.
Shipping containers save quite a bit of money on new construction, but they aren’t perfect. They’re metal boxes, after all, and that means they have problems with insulation. However, a similar project in Holland has proven the concept, and the method for converting a shipping container into livable space is well known. The advertising is the issue — how does someone attract people to their housing when it’s made out of containers? Thankfully, the low price tag and the population of Berlin should make it easy.
The Taiwan Taichung City Cultural Center was looking for proposals for new architecture, and the New York design company LOT-EK brings in the innovation. Once again, they choose to use shipping containers as the primary building material, but not in the Lego brick style of the projects in Seattle and Berlin.
LOT-EK is a company with over two decades of experience in working with shipping containers, so their design shows some promise. The idea of taking 1,620 containers and chopping, cutting and rearranging them into a shape suitable for a cultural center might be a little extreme. Will the proposal be chosen? Will the project make it off the ground? These questions remain to be answered sometime late in 2013.